From the Rows with Mark Bernard
Day one of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour saw our group heading out of Columbus and taking a northwest trek running through such booming metropolises as Prospect, Patterson, Ada, Beaverdam and Kalida. We covered the counties of Marion, Wyandot, Hardin, Allen, Putnam and Paulding in Ohio then pulled samples in Indiana in Adams, Allen, Wells and Blackford counties. We managed 10 samples in Ohio and 5 in Indiana before we had to pull up anchor for the hotel. We had a mixture of experience in the vehicle today with seasoned veteran Ricardo Gomez from Guadalajara, Mexico, newby driver Nate Birt from AgWeb based out of Mexico, MO, Crop Tour regular Ty Higgins from NAFB based out of Powell, OH, and yours truly.
This is my tenth tour of duty on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour and the route was similar in some respects to what I’d been on the previous 2 years in Ohio. Overall crop health was generally okay with minor leaf disease pressure in corn showing up recently in the form of a little gray leaf spot, eyespot, anthracnose and one field where we pulled one sample ear with smut. Soybean diseases were generally very light although we did see some downy mildew and frogeye leaf spot. As we crossed into Indiana, the incidence of SDS was becoming more prevalent. We did note some soybean aphids in most of the soybeans that were far below economic thresholds and on field that had some significant numbers of Japanese beetles on the edge. One thing that had stuck out last year in the corn fields was the weakness of the ear shanks which likely manifested itself in the form of some of the volunteer corn noted this year in the soybean fields. Most had been well controlled.
The maturity of the crop in Ohio this time around was behind last year although the corn was for the most part beginning to dent and the soybeans were R5. Yields on the corn in our Ohio route ranged from a high of 236 in Paulding Co. to low of 113 in Marion Co. Bean pod counts were extremely variable from a high of 1670 in a 3’ x 3’ in Ohio’s Paulding Co. to a low of 360 in Wyandot Co. On the corn samples pulled on the Indiana portion of our route the high was 226 in Wells Co. and the low was 119 in Blackford Co.
Unlike last year, soil moisture had not been a major limiting factor up until recently. Tip back was becoming evident on those fields in areas with lighter soils where rains had not occurred. Coupled with excessive rainfall causing some nitrogen deficiency to be evident as well as root systems to be shallower than desired and there is potential for the crop to lose bushels with no rain or maintain bushels at best if it does rain. The forecast heat may move maturity along but it will also rob the crop of precious moisture causing further tip back on the corn and pod abortion on the soybeans.
Someone had asked about the possibility of vomitoxin in the corn at the evening meeting and as I pointed out its presence is favored by abnormally cool wet weather late in the production season causing ear rots. It is typically a pinkish-white mold found on the tip of the ear. The causal organism is Giberella zeae, the same pathogen that causes scab in wheat. There is little that can be done to predict whether or not it will be a problem at this point.
My overall impression of the crop today on our route was that this is an Ohio corn crop to be reckoned with. It still needs a little time yet and we’ve probably seen it as good as it
For More Information
See full coverage of the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer.
Take your own field measurements and participate in Pro Farmer's Virtual Crop Tour.
Additional information available on AgWeb.